Florida Insider Poll: Who’s Likely to Run in the 2016 Senate Race?

Today, Richard DeNapoli was a featured participant in the Tampa Bay Times Fla Insider Poll…here’s an excerpt…

Fla Insider Poll: Sizing up Fla’s ’16 US Senate race
Adam C. SmithAdam C. Smith, Times Political Editor
Friday, January 30, 2015 8:40am

An open U.S. Senate seat is usually a once-in-a-generation opportunity for ambitious poltiticians. And with Marco Rubio moving toward a presidential run and vowing he would not hang onto his senate seat as a fall-back, 2016 is shaping up to be another huge cyce for political dominoes to tumble in Florida — a state with countless credible Republican contenders and a tiny Democratic bench.

Who’s likely to run, and who’s not? Time for another Florida Insider Poll, taking the pulse of many of Florida’s most experienced and sophisticated political minds.

Nearly 130 Florida campaign professionals, fundraisers, lobbyists, political scientists, and the like participated and underscored how many more options Republicans have than beleaguered Florida Democrats. Still, there was wide agreement on the likely nominee, with 56 percent predicting Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater of Palm Beach County would wind up the GOP nominee.

At least initially, the field could be vast.

“If Marco doesn’t run, with a wide open seat, every current and former Republican elected and with a pulse will express interest in running. But it will quickly whittle down to a smaller field of serious contenders, including some of the folks elected statewide currently serving in term-limited positions in Tallahassee,” said a Republican.

The Democratic side of the equation is much tougher, with only one statewide elected Democrat, Bill Nelson, already serving in the U.S. Senate. The skimpiness of the Democratic bench is underscored with the Florida Insider Poll, with the two most common predictions being little-known relative newcomers, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Palm Beach County and newly elected U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Leon County.

“Either Graham or Murphy would be a good candidate for the Dems. To win, the Democrat needs to avoid a primary and hope the Republicans have a messy one,” one Democrat said.


Richard DeNapoli at the Sarasota Statesman of the Year Event

Last night I attended the Sarasota Statesman of the Year Event featuring Sean Hannity, Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater, and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.  It was an amazing event with over 1600 people in attendance.  Kudos to Chairman Joe Gruters and the team at the Sarasota GOP.

Picture of the Crowd - Care of Sarasota GOP

Picture of the Crowd – Care of Sarasota GOP

Richard DeNapoli at the Sarasota Statesman of the Year Event with Attorney General Pam Bondi, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, and CFO Jeff Atwater

Richard DeNapoli at the Sarasota Statesman of the Year Event with Attorney General Pam Bondi, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, and CFO Jeff Atwater

Excerpt from the Sarasota Herald Tribune, :

…More than 1,600 people packed the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to watch Hannity receive the Sarasota Republican Party’s annual statesman of the year award.

Hannity also gave his most detailed explanation yet for why his popular television program is moving to another time. And he fired up the crowd by trashing President Barack Obama’s health care reforms and cheering on a potential government shutdown.

“We should be so lucky,” Hannity said of a shutdown, which could begin Tuesday if Congress does not pass a bill to keep the government funded. “There’s one day we don’t have to pay taxes, anyway.”

To a loud ovation, Hannity praised the work of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who spoke all night on the Senate floor earlier in the week in a bid to defund the Affordable Care Act. He said health care reform has put the U.S. on a path to socialism and will increase the cost of care for many of the very same people it’s supposed to help.

Said Hannity: “Everybody knows Obamacare is bad.”

Hannity said Cruz’s efforts, along with those of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, show that the Republican Party has a bright future.

“What I think happened this week is the emergence of a revitalized Republican Party standing on conservative principles that, if we follow them, it will lead to great success,” Hannity said.

With key provisions of the Affordable Care Act set to go into effect on Tuesday, Republicans such as Cruz and Rubio have declared this their best chance to defund it. But that has created turmoil within Republican ranks from those who fear the strategy won’t work and could hurt Republicans.

Hannity had harsh words for those Republicans. He singled out Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., for attacking Cruz. Hannity said his message to Republicans is this: Fund Obamacare, and you own it.

Hannity’s 45-minute appearance in the region is yet another signal of Sarasota’s significance to the national Republican Party, said Sarasota County GOP chairman Joe Gruters. Over the last two years, Republican leaders including Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Haley Barbour, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have visited Sarasota County and met with GOP activists.

Gruters said the more success Sarasota has in assembling big audiences, the more it gets the word out that Sarasota is a must-visit community for conservative leaders and future presidential candidates.

Hannity typically commands up to $100,000 in speaking fees, according to media reports. But Gruters said Hannity came to Sarasota for nominal travel costs because of the county’s reputation. He said it certainly didn’t hurt that Trump spoke to 1,000 people a year ago at the 2012 statesman event.

Hannity, who owns a home in Naples, told the Sarasota audience he feels like a neighbor and plans to one day retire in Southwest Florida. Twice during his speech, he hinted at a potential future run for statewide office.

Hannity also said that his highly rated show’s shift from 9 p.m. to 10 starting next month was because he has “not been home for dinner for all of these years.”

He said he was looking for a more flexible schedule that would enable him to be home more often.

“I wasn’t gong to continue on Fox, to be honest,” Hannity said, “because I didn’t think I could do it and still be a father.”

Hannity has been on Fox News since 1996.

His “Hannity” program is the second-highest-rated cable news program in the country after “The O’Reilly Factor,” also on Fox News.

Hannity said Fox has built a studio in his home and given him the authority to tape more of his shows to accommodate his family.

Thank You for a Successful 2012 Lincoln Day

Thank You!

Our Keynote Speaker:
Attorney General Pam Bondi
Our Special Guest Speakers:
Chief Financial Officer 
Jeff Atwater
Congressman Allen West 

Elected, Appointed and Former
Elected Officials Present:
Senator & US Senate Candidate George LeMieux
Congressman Allen West, running for reelection to Congress
Attorney General Pam Bondi
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater
State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, running for reelection
State Rep. George Moraitis, running for reelection
State Rep. Matt Hudson, running for reelection
Fmr Fl. House Maj. Leader Adam Hasner, 
candidate for Congress
Fmr. State Rep. Susan Goldstein
Sheriff Al Lamberti, running for reelection
Fmr. Broward Property Appraiser
Rocky Rodriguez
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca
Highlands County Commissioner Don Elwell
School Board Member Katie Leach, 
running for reelection to the Broward School Board
School Board Member Donna Korn, 
running for reelection to the Broward School Board

Coral Springs City Commissioner 
Tom Powers, running for reelection
Cooper City Commissioner John Sims
Hollywood City Commissioner Patty Asseff, running for reelection
Miramar City Commissioner Troy Samuels
Fmr. Plantation Councilman Rico Petrocelli
Fmr. Plantation Councilman Jerry Fadgen, candidate for election to the Plantation Council
Fmr. North Lauderdale City Commissioner Frank Messana, candidate for election to the Margate City Commission
Fmr. U.S. Elections Assistance Commissioner Gineen Bresso, Candidate for Congress
Commissioner Juan Selaya, Broward County Housing Authority
Commissioner David Di Pietro, North Broward Hospital District
Fmr. Vice-Chairman of Cabarrus County (NC) Board, At Large, Scott Herman, candidate for State Rep.

RNC Co-Chair, Florida National Committeewoman &  Broward State Committeewoman, Sharon Day

Broward State Committeeman  

Ed Kennedy
Palm Beach State Chairman Sid Dinerstein
Miami-Dade County Chairman Ben Powell
St. Lucie County Chairman Bill Patterson
Palm Beach State Committeewoman Fran Hancock
 Palm Beach REC Vice-Chair  

Margi Helschein
Gene Hansen, former Broward County REC Chair and Former Broward State Commiteewoman
Candidates Present:
(those running appearing on a Broward County Ballot 
and not already referenced above)
Col. Mike McCalister, Candidate for US Senate
Ozzie deFaria, Candidate for Congress
Juan Eliel Garcia, Candidate for Congress
Karen Harrington, Candidate for Congress
Joe Kaufman, Candidate for Congress
Dr. Marion Thorpe, Candidate for Congress
Doug Harrison, Candidate for State Rep.
Jim Gleason, Candidate for State Rep.
Elizabeth Eddy, Candidate for State Rep.
Jim Lewis, Candidate for Broward State Attorney
Robert Sutton, Candidate for Broward County Commission
Dan Daley, Candidate for City Commission Coral Springs
Scott Yardley, Candidate for Margate City Commission
David Gobeo, Candidate for City Commission Parkland
Richard DeNapoli with Elected Officials, Candidates, Former Elected Officials
Sheriff Lamberti Leading Invocation with Elected, Appointed, Fmr Elected and Candidates on Stage


Our Table Sponsors:
JM Family Enterprises, Inc. 
Anesco North Broward
First Path/Dr. Ronald Giffler
Rebecca Stoll
Gunster Law Firm
Advocate Home Care Services
Florida Power & Light
Allen West Friends & Family
Republican Party of Palm Beach County
RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day
William E. Lewis, Jr. & Associates
Chairman Richard & Brigita DeNapoli
Fran Hancock, Palm Beach County State Committeewoman
Ozzie & Sue deFaria
Team Romney
Cuban Americans for a Better Florida
Florida Certification Board
Walter Griffith  


Broward Republican Club Table Sponsors:
Republican Club of Central Broward
Republican Business Network
Coral Springs/Parkland Republican Club
Lauderdale Beach Republican Club
Log Cabin Republican Club
Greater Pompano Beach Republican Club
Regional Republican Club
Southwest Broward Republican Organization
South Broward Republican Club
Broward County Young Republicans
Our Program Book Advertisers:
JM Family Enterprises, Inc.
Anesco North Broward
Waste Management
George Moraitis for State Representative
Allen West for Congress
RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day
Coral Springs/Parkland Republican Club
Kim T. Mollica, Attorney at Law
United Transporation Union (Parking Sponsor Also)
Midwest Financial Services Co., Inc.
Polo International, Inc.
Creative Smiles, Dr. Joseph Camuccio, DDS
EDCO Awards and Specialties
Chairman Richard & Brigita DeNapoli
Republican Business Network
Greater Pompano Beach Republican Club
Daniel & Debbie Gonzalez
Regional Republican Club
Hilton Insurance Services, Inc.
Laurette Homan, Classy Conservative
Broward Women’s Republican Club, Federated
David Gobeo for Parkland City Commission
BREC Member Captain Matthew Tsien, USAF (Ret.)
Broward County Young Republicans
Diana Waterous Centorino, Attorney at Law
Log Cabin Republican Club
Scott Herman for State Representative
Gifoni Aluminum, Inc.
BREC Members Bunney Brenneman, Andrew Eddy, James Hammers, Robert Knox, Marny Lewis, Martin Murray, Kenneth Nuelle, Elizabeth Pike, William Santore, Carol Schiller, Juan A. Selaya, Martha P. Selaya, Diane Sori, Sandy Steen, Robert Steen, Robert Sutton
Our Host Committee:

Brian Hodgers

Maureen Jaeger

Thomas Lauder

William E. Lewis, Jr.

Chad Lincoln

Albert P. Massey, III

 David Maymon

Dr. Richard Meli

Heather Moraitis

Richard Paul-Hus

Sayfie Law Firm

Daniel A. Seigel

Rebecca Stoll


Our Lincoln Day Chair:
Michael G. De Gruccio
The Broward REC Board:
Richard DeNapoli, Chairman
Colleen Stolberg, Vice-Chair
Michael G. De Gruccio, Secretary
Mark McCarthy, Treasurer
Sharon Day, RNC Co-Chair
Ed Kennedy, Broward State Committeeman
Our Volunteers:
Felicia Anderson
Ben Bennett
Jennifer De Gruccio
Celeste Ellich
Florine Goldfarb
Laurette Homan
Claire Lang
Sally Musser
Lisa Rask
Hathor Renza
Carole Rigney
Barbara Schaltenbrand
Col. Gene Schaltenbrand
Nicholas Stone
Sharon Taylor
Christine Rome
Janet Orozco
Lidia Wallace
 Sheriff Al Lamberti

Color Guard:
Master Sgt Charles Dean & the Color Guard from Coral Glades High School
National Anthem:
Hannah Ellowitz
And all of our nearly 500 Guests!
Together, We Did It!
Can’t Wait Until Next Year!
Your Chairman,
Richard DeNapoli 



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Political advertisement paid for and approved by the Broward Republican Executive Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Almost 500 Republicans attend 2012 Broward Lincoln Day Gala

As featured in The Examiner, a story about our successful Lincoln Day Dinner 2012…
BY: William Lewis
Richard DeNapoli and Attorney General Pam Bondi

Richard DeNapoli and Attorney General Pam Bondi

Living up to a campaign promise and his Eight Point Platform for the Broward Republican Party, Chairman Richard DeNapoli staged yet another successful fundraiser in Saturday’s Lincoln Day Gala.

Almost 500 Republicans attended the annual Lincoln Day Gala at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was the featured keynote speaker at the Broward Republican Party event. Chief Financial Officer Jeff AtwaterCongressman Allen West (FL-22), and Republican National Committee co-chair Sharon Day were among special guest speakers in attendance.

Party Secretary Michael De Gruccio returned as the 2012 event chairman.

“It was my honor to return as chairman of the 2012 Broward County Lincoln Day Gala,” said De Gruccio. “We had an amazing keynote speaker followed by special guest speakers that not only honored the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln but our Republican elected officials.”

Prior to the dinner, BREC Chairman Richard DeNapoli hosted a VIP Reception for nearly 200 that included the Florida Attorney General, the state Chief Financial Officer, a prominent Congressman, the Republican National Committee Co-Chairman, a number of local, state, and federal officials as well as candidates for public office.

“The VIP reception offered an opportunity to chat one-on-one with Attorney General Pam Bondi, the keynote speaker and special guests CFO Jeff Atwater Congressman Allen West, and RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day” said DeNapoli. “Guests also had an opportunity to speak with candidates running for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Florida House and Senate, as well as local Broward County offices.”

Returning as auctioneer from appearances at both the 2011 Broward Lincoln Day Gala and the inaugural Grand Old Party BBQ was Highlands County Commissioner Don Elwell. Standing tall above the crowd, Elwell successfully raised thousands of dollars for local Republicans through a live auction.

Richard DeNapoli and Jeff Atwater

Chairman Richard DeNapoli presenting award to CFO Jeff Atwater

Attorney General Pam Bondi opened the evening as the featured keynote speaker with a feisty and dynamic speech on a variety of issues. Bondi, who had just returned from a trip to New York and the taping of a segment on Sean Hannity, donated a pink tie – autographed by Hannity – for the evening’s live auction.

Still excited from her recent argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Obamacare, Bondi recalled some of her experiences concerning the case.

Richard DeNapoli Elected Officials

Elected Officials, Candidates, and Former Elected Officials on Stage

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater followed stating that “you have the state of Florida and our federal government taking two very different paths. In the great state of Florida where you have elected Rick Scott, where you have elected Pam Bondi, Adam Putnam, and a Republican legislature – this is what happens in a downturn. You get people that go to bat for you.”

“Things in Florida are completely different from the federal government. The federal government has raised your taxes, raised the debt, increased regulation. In the state of Florida the last three years has been the exact opposite – your taxes were reduced, regulation was reduced, and debt was reduced.”

Congressman Allen West fired up conservatives, telling Republicans to “find the enemy and fight them wherever they are.” Like American paratroopers before the D-day invasion, West said they “must be like sharks that smell blood in the water.”

The audience applauded and cheered throughout his 19 minute speech, as West appeared before Broward Republican’s for a final time.

West concluded with words from the farewell speech given by Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson when he was promoted by Robert E. Lee.

“He said to his brigade they would always be first in his heart,” said West. “Broward County will always be first in my heart, and I will never forget you,” he told the standing room only crowd.

Special guest and Republican National Committee co-Chair Sharon Day was also encouraged by the work of the Broward Republican Executive Committee and stated so in an interview following the event.

“It was great to see so many Broward Republicans together in such a Democratic stronghold. Taking back the White House and the Senate is the only way we can save America.”

“Lincoln Day was an overwhelming success,” former Plantation Councilman and BREC Executive Director Rico Petrocelli stated. “It was encouraging to see many new faces from throughout Broward.”